Caribana 2011 with the Toronto Revellers - "Welcome to Oz"

The Wizard of Oz is one of my all time favourite movies. So when I discovered that the Toronto Revellers' Caribana theme for 2011 was going to be "Welcome to Oz" I was beyond ecstatic.

I've played mas with the Revellers since 2007, and truly believe it is the "people's band" fact, I believed in the vibes and experience of the Revellers so much, that along with 3 other friends (Cherr Evans, Candice Dixon, and Sonia Bhatia) I decided to take on the challenge of being a section leader this year.

After a huge learning curve, many many late nights and all-nighters, and the support of the Toronto Revellers' team, we have finally developed a costume that we are in love with.

Video of us preparing our prototype in the months leading up to May 2011.

Our section "Wicked" has been a project of passion, and as of yesterday, Friday, May 6, 2011, the Toronto Revellers mas camp (or home base) is now open to the public to view the costumes, and sign up to participate in the parade.

Located at 2135 Sheppard Avenue East, the mas camp now has a cute-ass display of the "Welcome to Oz" costumes...and as you follow the yellow brick road around the showroom, you'll be captivated by costumes ranging from "Ruby" (slippers), to "Heartless" (tin man), to "Dorothy"...and of course our baby, "Wicked" (witch of the west).

There are 14 sections in total, in our Emerald City. They are:

Courage-Lion (by Attasha Jordan)
Dorothy (by the Toronto Revellers)
Emerald City (by Joann Chase)
Wizards Fury (by Nikki Brand-Dixon and Zakiya Ricketts)
Glinda the Good Witch & Lollipop Guild (by Natalie Williams)
Heartless-Tin Man (by Roger Taylor Montano)
Lullaby (by Giselle "The Wassi One" Blanche)
Over the Rainbow (by Yvette McBurnie)
Ruby Red (by Camille Lewis)
Scarecrow (by Roger Taylor Montano)
Weathering the Storm (by Christiane Tetreault & Simone Russelburn)
Wicked & Winkie Guard (by Cherr Evans, Candice Dixon, Sonia Bhatia, and me...Stacey Marie Robinson)
Witch of the East & Fly (by Roger Taylor Montano)
Yellow Brick Road (by Roxane Austin)

Overall, I think the Revellers have done a fabulous job this year. Yes, I am completely biased...but yes, there is good reason for my opinion. I think the original designs, the section consistency, the great interpretation of the theme, and of course the spirit of the production, will make this a successful year for the Toronto Revellers.

If you weren't able to make it out to the Toronto Revellers band launch last weekend (Saturday, April 30), here's video of all of the above-mentioned costumes on display for the on-stage presentation.

To see behind the scenes footage of the "Wicked" & "Winkie Guards photoshoot, check out the video below.

So yes it's still May, yes you still need your jacket to go outside, and yes...we haven't even hit the Victoria Day long weekend yet, let alone Canada Day or any other Canadian summer milestones...but you better believe that Caribana is already in full swing.

I have loved this experience thus far, because it brings the Caribana spirit to life for more than just a few weeks. By participating as a section leader we're able to enjoy the build up, take in the music, fabrics, and festivities, and really and truly appreciate the experience on the road when July 30 rolls around.

But in the meanwhile....we cut, we glue, we bead, we measure, we meet with the ladies joining our section and we prepare. I have a feeling this might be my best Caribana yet!


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